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As we age, our entire bodies change, and not just in how they look. Becoming older also changes how your body functions. It takes your body longer to digest meals, especially if you have a hard time chewing. While you can’t stop the aging process, you can stay healthy. The first step towards good health as a senior is eating right.
Keys To a Healthy Diet
Following basic nutrition principles by filling your diet with a lot of different fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats are vital. Some foods are especially helpful for older adults who are striving to keep their bodies working as well oiled machines.
If you’re struggling with proper nutrition, try adding these dietary recommendations into your healthy eating habits.
Diet and Lifestyle
Everything you put in your mouth has a potential to affect your oral hygiene. Maintaining a healthy diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Chewing is even considered good exercise for your mouth.
The basics of elderly nutrition are:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice
- Protein-rich foods such as salmon or legumes
- Five portions per day of fruits and vegetables
- Low-fat dairy
- Consuming healthy fats in the form of nuts, fish, and oils
- Cutting back on your sodium intake
Staying Hydrated With Water
Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your body hydrated and flushes out toxins that you otherwise store. Scientists have proven that drinking fluoridated water helps to maintain healthy teeth, and is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. In addition to your oral health, as you age, your body’s ability to conserve water decreases. Dehydration leads to drowsiness and confusion among other side effects, so it’s essential to your overall health to stay hydrated even if you do not feel thirsty.
Getting Enough Fiber
Consuming dietary fiber from foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes play a crucial role in your digestive health. As we age, our digestive system slows down. The walls of the gastrointestinal tract thicken, and the contractions are slower and fewer. Getting enough fiber can help prevent or ease constipation as well as lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, lead to a healthier heart and reduce inflammation.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- Whole-grain cereals
- Whole-grain bread and pasta
- Brown rice
Keep Your Oil Levels Up
Extra virgin olive oil contains Vitamins E and K and is loaded with powerful antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants can fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol. Using olive oil as a substitute for butter increases your oil levels and is also a healthier alternative. Out of all the healthy fats and oils, extra virgin olive oil is incredibly effective at improving cardiovascular health.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for people of all ages including older adults as they help prevent inflammation which can lead to cancer, rheumatoid, arthritis and, heart disease. Fatty acids have also been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and keeping the brain alert.
These good fats can be found in many foods such as:
- Fish. Including sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout and herring.
- Avocado. About 77% healthy fat, and are a great source of fiber.
- Cheese. A great source of calcium, nutritious, and also contains powerful fatty acids.
- Eggs. Whole eggs are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
- Nuts. High in healthy fats and fiber, plus they are a good plant-based source of protein.
Maintaining Your Dental Health
Dental issues are more likely to come up as you age. Missing teeth, receding gums, mouth sores, and jaw pain are just some of the many side effects of growing older. A decay and loss of natural teeth are not inevitable in old age, in any case. Through proper oral hygiene and a healthy diet, elderly patients can continue to maintain good dental health and thereby have a positive effect on the rest of their bodies.
Older adults have different concerns when it comes to oral hygiene, and they need a dentist who is experienced with looking for and treating these specific conditions. When caught early, common dental conditions in elderly patients can be reversed or relieved with treatment. Make your dental health a priority by scheduling a professional cleaning and exam with Hoffman Dental Care today.